Charter (800) 381-JETS (5387) FBO(800) 338-KTRM (5876) Maintenance AOG (760) 394-8500

Our Team

Executive Team

Jared Fox
Jared Fox

CAM, Chief Executive Officer

Jared Fox

CAM, Chief Executive Officer

Jared was bitten by the aviation bug at an early age. By 14 years old he was flying planes out of the Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport near his home in Anna Maria Island, Florida. At 18, Jared began working for Delta Airlines and was quickly promoted to Operations Supervisor, the youngest to hold the position for the airline.

In 1997, Jared transitioned into the general aviation world when he began working for an FBO in Sarasota. After completing a degree in International Affairs and Business Management at Florida State University, Jared joined Banyan Air Service at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. During this time, he also obtained a Commercial Certificate and an Instrument Rating.

Next, Jared made the move to the West Coast where he joined American Airports Corporation as Training Coordinator for their Santa Monica, CA based FBO group; Supermarine. After AAC sold their FBO businesses, he transferred to their airport management division and began managing Los Angeles County Airports through contract.

Jared’s successes led him to the aircraft charter industry where he joined Corporate Jets LLC and then TWC Aviation developing multimillion dollar books of business from the ground up.

Mr. Fox continues his commitment to business aviation and today brings 25 years of experience, across nearly every aspect of the industry.

Toby Benenson
Toby Benenson

Chief Operating Officer

Toby Benenson

Chief Operating Officer

As Desert Jet's Chief Operating Officer, Toby oversees the day-to-day operations of the company’s three business divisions and ensures the effectiveness and efficiency between cross-functional teams.

As a key member of the executive leadership team, Toby is instrumental in providing leadership and developing the culture around our core values, ensuring high levels of engagement throughout the company.

Toby’s previous experience over the last ten years includes the position of Director of Mission Control for a large national operator and operational control functions with a national aircraft fractional operation. He is a certificated pilot and aircraft dispatcher.

Toby is also a certified scuba diver and enjoys flying drones, biking and swimming with his two-year old daughter.

Chris Little
Chris Little

Chief Marketing Officer

Chris Little

Chief Marketing Officer

Chris began her marketing career in business aviation services more than 14 years ago, working for an East Coast Part 135 private jet charter and management company and its affiliate FBO.  She established the companies’ marketing department and led successful rebrand strategies and initiatives through multimedia and digital marketing, advertising, PR and event activities. She established greater brand awareness and recognition for her previous company, locally and nationally, increasing sales activities and profitability. Chris also launched several internal communications initiatives which contributed to better workflows, increased efficiencies and promoted a positive company culture.

Chris relocated back to California and worked for an aviation services company which included marketing aircraft for sale and a Part 145 Maintenance and Repair facility. She led a successful brand merge and launched a new website and fresh marketing collateral.

Inspired by Desert Jet's story, its values and culture, Chris soon joined Desert Jet and moved to the desert to become a part of a remarkable company focused on growing together as a team.

Dedicated to her role as the Chief Marketing Officer for Desert Jet, Chris will develop and implement a marketing strategy to increase brand awareness, presence and recognition for the company's product lines to increase market share and brand loyalty. She will bring her strong passion for excellence, high work ethics, creativity, analytic skills and enthusiastic determination to enhance the company culture and continued success of the brand. In her spare time, Chris enjoys cooking, traveling, socializing, photography and is a foodie. She loves to volunteer, hike, ride her bike, and spend time with family.

Roman Mendez
Roman Mendez

General Manager, Desert Jet Center

Roman Mendez

General Manager, Desert Jet Center

A Coachella Valley native, Roman first fell in love with business aviation when he was eighteen working for the world’s largest FBO chain. He began his tenure as a line service technician and soon became the operations manager.

As an operations manager Roman was directly responsible for leading his team in safety practices, offering great customer service, training, and professional development. Captivated by the vision and culture of Desert Jet, Roman joined the FBO team as Line Service Manager.

Bringing his 13 years of aviation experience, Roman now leads a team of aviation enthusiast in day-to-day business operations as General Manager. His duties include FBO revenue optimization through business development and hangar leasing.

Apart from work, Roman is passionate about volunteering and giving back to his community. He is currently an ambassador and previous donor for Be The Match, the global leader in bone marrow transplant.

Desert Jet Charter

Jeff Irvine
Jeff Irvine

Director of Operations

Jeff Irvine

Director of Operations

Jeff brings 15 years of aviation and leadership experience to his role as Director of Operations.

Jeff graduated from Utah State University with a bachelor’s degree in Aviation Technology- Professional Pilot, and a minor in Business Management.

Before Desert Jet, Jeff served as a flight instructor at TransPac Aviation Academy, where he quickly built a reputation as a high-quality training captain and mentor. He helped to develop a program for domestic flight students that has grown into a full division for the academy and is still being used to train hundreds of students today, well after his departure.

Jeff left his position at TransPac to fly as a Captain for Ameriflight, where he also served as a Training Captain. He credits his time with Ameriflight for honing and strengthening his flight skills and transforming him into a seasoned Captain.

Jeff joined Desert Jet more than five years ago and has served as a Senior Captain, Training Captain, Check Airman, and Chief Pilot before he was appointed the Director of Operations.

In his new position, Jeff advocates and enhances safety, efficiency, communication, and teamwork. He takes his role seriously and genuinely works to build a relationship of trust with each of his co-workers.

Jeff speaks German fluently and enjoys reading, the outdoors, sports, and spending quality time with his family. He is married to a German redhead, and together they have two amazing boys. You could say his hands are full, but he wouldn’t have it any other way!<.p>

Steve Roy
Steve Roy

Pilot

Steve Roy

Pilot

Steve’s aviation dreams began at an early age, sitting at the kitchen table building World War II model aircraft with his father. He’s now living his dream as a pilot, as he embarks on his second career. Prior to joining Desert Jet, Steve’s strong technology background offered him an opportunity to work with several highflying teams and he has benefited greatly from the mentorship of notable business leaders while at Apple, Author-It, DonJoy, and Promptu.

Steve is a graduate from the University of Southern California and attended Cambridge University, England as a Joan Metcalf Schaefer Extramural Scholar. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Finance, a minor in Computer Science and is an adjunct Professor of Aviation Science at Orange Coast College.

Steve lives in La Quinta, is married and has two children. Steve enjoys USC Football, Anaheim Ducks hockey, cycling, golf and history. He enjoys spending time with his family and gives back through his service to Boy Scouts of America, Operation Help a Hero, Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center Foundation and Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief.

Lizeth Rodriguez
Lizeth Rodriguez

Charter Sales Coordinator

Lizeth Rodriguez

Charter Sales Coordinator

Coming Soon!
Austin Braver
Austin Braver

Pilot

Austin Braver

Pilot

Austin had been enamored with flying and airplanes from an early age. When he was younger, his parents used to drive him to the Palwaukee Airport in Wheeling, Illinois, to watch aircraft take-off and land. That fascination early on became a career goal for Austin.

After growing up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, Austin was recruited as a division one athlete to Clemson University in South Carolina on their Men's Swimming and Diving team. Austin graduated from Clemson with a degree in Biological Sciences.

Before Desert Jet, Austin was living and working for a private charter company in Las Vegas. After spending two years living in one desert area, it was a smooth transition for Austin to move to another, and he started working at Desert Jet in 2019. When asked why he chose Desert Jet, Austin responded, "I have felt like family since I came to this company, and I am excited to see how much we grow!"

Austin's hobbies include traveling, hiking, and hanging out by the pool or beach.

Chace Sparks
Chace Sparks

Pilot

Chace Sparks

Pilot

Chace’s love of driving (anything) brought him to aviation. What started as a natural transition from riding bicycles and dirt bikes to driving cars, antique roadsters, and motorboats has evolved into flying aircraft. Flying for Desert Jet as a charter pilot has given Chace an excellent career path with the opportunity to continue following his passion for driving.

Chace started flying at Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology immediately after graduating high school. He has been a flight instructor, an island hopper in the Caribbean, and has flown jets for various companies based on the east and west coast.

When asked how he decided to join Desert Jet, Chace had this to say, “I came to Desert Jet because of the beautiful location close to Palm Springs, the un-ending blue skies, and the proximity to the beaches and ski resorts for weekend getaways! They have great intentions and have treated me well from our very first interactions.”

Chace enjoys playing soccer, video games, going on adventures, relaxing, and hanging out with his beautiful wife.

Najib Atwi
Najib Atwi

Chief Pilot

Najib Atwi

Chief Pilot

2019 marks Najib's 5th year at Desert Jet. He serves as an Instructor Pilot and Check Airman on our Cessna Citation 500 and 525 fleet.

Najib has more than 11000 flight hours, six type ratings on various aircraft including; three Cessna Citation models, a Kingair 350, a Gulfstream G-200, and an Airbus A-320.

Prior to joining Desert Jet, Najib served as the former Director Of Flight Operations for a private company in Oregon.

Najib's childhood was spent living in exotic places such as Asia, Europe, and Africa, considering each place home before moving to the United States. Besides everything Aviation, some of Najib's hobbies include traveling, classic cars, watching and playing sports such as basketball, soccer, baseball, and tennis.

Mike Horan
Mike Horan

Director of Maintenance

Mike Horan

Director of Maintenance

Coming soon!
Heidi Ratajesak
Heidi Ratajesak

Charter Sales Coordinator

Heidi Ratajesak

Charter Sales Coordinator

Coming soon!
Erin Tomerlin
Erin Tomerlin

Pilot

Erin Tomerlin

Pilot

Daughter of a private pilot, Erin caught the flying bug young, and at age 18 earned her first pilot certificate at Southern California’s Van Nuys airport. She currently has 12,000 hours of flying experience, has flown nearly 100 makes and models of aircraft, holds 2 type ratings, and has taught hundreds of people how to fly.

Erin began her professional flying career as an instructor at Van Nuys’ San-Val Flying Service in 1986, then moved to Northern California’s Napa Valley, where she taught aerobatics and trained flight crews for Japan Airlines.

She returned to Southern California in 2005, where she continued teaching and serving as Chief Instructor for a part 141 flight school. She earned her C510 and C525 type certificates and has been providing flight instruction and pilot services in both aircraft for the last several years. She joined the Desert Jet team in March 2020.

Thiago Tarifa
Thiago Tarifa

Pilot

Thiago Tarifa

Pilot

Thiago began his love of airplanes at a young age, playing with RC model planes throughout his childhood. During his senior year in high school, he decided to pursue a career in aviation and began flying airplanes at the Aero Clube do Ceara, in his hometown of Fortaleza, Brazil. Thiago completed his flight training in Florida and returned home to Brazil to be a corporate pilot. He quickly fell in love with business aviation.

Before joining the Desert Jet family, Thiago served as a Captain for several business aviation companies. He has flown turboprops and Citation jets in various parts of the world including, South America, Europe, North America, and the Caribbean. Thiago also has a wide range of experience in managing flight departments providing management solutions, developing safety-oriented procedures, and training pilots for private and charter companies.

With more than 14 years in the industry, and a passion for aviation, management, and customer service, Thiago takes pride in what he does and loves to provide top-notch service at work.

Thiago speaks Portuguese, Spanish, and is learning French, but that is still a work in progress.

Apart from work, Thiago has a passion for sailing, kite surfing, motorsports, and his family. When he is not flying, you will likely find him spending time with his wife and dogs somewhere close to a beach or the dunes.

Mark Rubin
Mark Rubin

Pilot

Mark Rubin

Pilot

Mark soloed on his 16th birthday, and with 53 years of general aviation, corporate, and airline operations, he joined Desert Jet in August 2020.

Mark has flown 21000+ hours in worldwide operations and recently honored by his colleagues and the FAA with the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award.

Before joining Desert Jet, Mark flew Light Jets for another private jet charter company for more than two years. He also worked at Boeing training pilots in Miami, Kenya, and South Korea for six years.

Mark's illustrious aviation career includes 32 years of commercial flights with American Airlines, having flown nearly the entire fleet of Boeing jets from the 707 to the 777, along with the DC10 and MD80.

Previous to AA, Mark flew from the United Arab Emirates to Saudi Arabia, the Virgin Islands to Hawaii and the South Pacific, enjoying every day of his career. He also served four years of enlisted service in the USAF and is a Vietnam veteran.

Mark spends his free time hiking and bicycling with his wife Shari and following the adventures of his two daughters Samantha and Molly.

Desert Jet Maintenance

Luis Ferro
Luis Ferro

Administrative Assistant / Parts

Luis Ferro

Administrative Assistant / Parts

Luis is a desert native having been born in Indio and raised in Thermal, California. After high school, Luis attended the College of the Desert and graduated with an Associate’s of Science Degree in Computer Science. Luis initially joined the Desert Jet team as a Line Service Technician.  His interest in aircraft maintenance led him to join the Desert Jet Maintenance team as a parts clerk with the intention of eventually becoming an aircraft mechanics. Away from work, Luis can be found off-roading, shooting and working on cars. Luis always has a smile, and it spreads to the rest of his team.
Valente Camarillo
Valente Camarillo

Maintenance Technician

Valente Camarillo

Maintenance Technician

Valente Camarillo joins Desert Jet with more than 18 years’ experience in aircraft maintenance. Valente attended Red Stone College in Los Angeles, California, where he earned his A&P license. Previously with SkyWest, he became crew leader and spent four years in a supervisory role.

Valente was born and raised in Indio, California, and enjoys spending time with his family, playing his guitar and Barbequing on his days off.

Richard Camarillo
Richard Camarillo

Maintenance Technician

Richard Camarillo

Maintenance Technician

Coming soon!
Jonathan Schaedig
Jonathan Schaedig

FAA Accountable Manager

Jonathan Schaedig

FAA Accountable Manager

Coming soon!
Jeff Manion
Jeff Manion

Technical Sales Representative

Jeff Manion

Technical Sales Representative

Jeff is a corporate aviation executive in MRO Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service. He demonstrates exemplary leadership skills plus a proven track record of YOY revenue growth, by capturing new market share, maximizing corporate performance, along with improving internal efficiencies.
Juan Alvarez
Juan Alvarez

Maintenance Technician

Juan Alvarez

Maintenance Technician

Juan came to the U.S. at the age of six from Jiquilpan Michoacan, Mexico. He started his career in aviation at an avionics repair station, where his passion for Avionics grew.

As an Avionics Technician/Repairman for six years, Juan’s responsibilities included maintaining maintenance records, maintenance tasks, safety practices, training, and professional development.

Outside of work, Juan is passionate about technology and the car community. He is currently an ambassador for Acealloywheels and represents various other companies.

Desert Jet Center - Executive FBO

Roman Mendez
Roman Mendez

General Manager, Desert Jet Center

Roman Mendez

General Manager, Desert Jet Center

A Coachella Valley native, Roman first fell in love with business aviation when he was eighteen working for the world’s largest FBO chain. He began his tenure as a line service technician and soon became the operations manager.

As an operations manager Roman was directly responsible for leading his team in safety practices, offering great customer service, training, and professional development. Captivated by the vision and culture of Desert Jet, Roman joined the FBO team as Line Service Manager.

Bringing his 13 years of aviation experience, Roman now leads a team of aviation enthusiast in day-to-day business operations as General Manager. His duties include FBO revenue optimization through business development and hangar leasing.

Apart from work, Roman is passionate about volunteering and giving back to his community. He is currently an ambassador and previous donor for Be The Match, the global leader in bone marrow transplant.

Jorge Rodriguez
Jorge Rodriguez

Line Service Lead

Jorge Rodriguez

Line Service Lead

Jorge is a Coachella Valley native with a strong work ethic and a helpful heart. When he’s not spending time with his family, you can find him at any one of the amusement parks around the area. Jorge has a passion for sports, whether it be playing or watching football, baseball and basketball. He gives back to his community and coaches softball at Coachella Valley High School, where his passion for sports shines through.
Richard Rasmussen
Richard Rasmussen

Lead Aircraft Detailer

Richard Rasmussen

Lead Aircraft Detailer

Richard was born and raised in Modesto, California. Over the years, his interest in automotive detailing grew, and he began working at car dealerships, and then at very reputable body shops. Richard received a promotion to Parts Manager, and although the work was enjoyable, he missed detailing.

With the downturn of the body shop industry in 2009, Richard decided to start a mobile detailing business. For six years, he served all of the Central Valley detailing cars, trucks, motorcycles, RV’s, boats, even semi-trucks… but no aircraft. He closed the doors in 2015 after a good run, with the hopes of pursuing something new. In 2017 Richard moved his family to the Coachella Valley and joined Desert Jet with a wealth of detailing knowledge and experience. He quickly adapted to detailing aircraft using the skills he had learned in the automotive industry.

Richard now leads our Detail team. Whether onsite at Desert Jet Center or offsite doing mobile work, he takes pride in his job. He hopes to continue to help Desert Jet grow and thrive for years to come.

Richard enjoys spending time with his family. His interests include all things automotive, cooking, reading, and collecting all types of scale automobiles

Alonso Mendoza
Alonso Mendoza

Line Service Lead

Alonso Mendoza

Line Service Lead

Coming Soon!
Angel Vargas
Angel Vargas

Line Service Technician

Angel Vargas

Line Service Technician

Born and raised in Mexico City, Angel came to the U.S. in 1971 looking for better employment opportunities.  Angel worked as an industrial mechanic for ten years and an optical technician for five years prior to working in line service at KTRM.  He now joins Desert Jet with more than 12 years of aviation experience as a line technician.

Angel enjoys history, sports, cars and motorcycles.  He is extremely happy to be a Desert Jet team member!

Taylor Garcia
Taylor Garcia

Lead Guest Service Coordinator

Taylor Garcia

Lead Guest Service Coordinator

Taylor is a Coachella Valley native with an outgoing personality and strong customer service background. Taylor joined the Desert Jet team as a Guests Service Coordinator. Although this is her first job in aviation, she had always had an interest in the industry and with aircraft. Her adaptive skills, generous nature and eagerness to learn new things will be beneficial to her role and to the company.

When Taylor is not working, you can find her spending time with her family, playing softball with friends or even attending a local community event. Taylor gives back to her community by teaching adaptive fitness classes to adults and youths with disabilities.

Everett Woodbridge
Everett Woodbridge

Aircraft Detailer

Everett Woodbridge

Aircraft Detailer

Coming Soon!
Del Boyer
Del Boyer

Facilities Maintenance Manager

Del Boyer

Facilities Maintenance Manager

Coming soon!
Samuel Zendejas
Samuel Zendejas

Line Service Technician

Samuel Zendejas

Line Service Technician

Samuel is a Coachella Valley native with a strong work ethic and a helpful heart. He joins Desert Jet as a Line Service Technician for the FBO.

Eager to assist our customers, Samuel is just as helpful to his fellow team members. He appreciates the opportunity Desert Jet provides him and others from the community in developing a career in aviation.

Samuel has a passion for musical and visual arts. He enjoys playing bass guitar, mixing and producing music, outdoor activities and adventures, fishing, camping, skating, and playing chess.

Jeanne Martin
Jeanne Martin

Guest Service Coordinator

Jeanne Martin

Guest Service Coordinator

Jeanne grew up mostly in Orange County, California, but now calls the desert her home since moving here from Huntington Beach in late 1998. She just celebrated her 20th wedding anniversary in July and has two grown sons; one son lives in Green Bay, WI., and the other lives in Fresno, CA.

Jeanne has had a variety of occupations throughout the years. She worked in the retail and insurance industries for many years before becoming the owner of a specialty retail store in Palm Springs, and a restaurant in Indio. Jeanne previously worked for another FBO for two and a half years before joining the best - Desert Jet Center!

Jeanne is an avid reader, loves to garden, enjoys watching sports (football and NASCAR), and loves to travel, especially to the Hawaiian Islands. She enjoys get-togethers with family and friends and hangs out with her husband and two furry babies.

Melina Verdugo
Melina Verdugo

Guest Service Coordinator

Melina Verdugo

Guest Service Coordinator

A Coachella Valley native, Melina joins Desert Jet as a Guest Service Coordinator. Although new to the industry, she is passionate about understanding the fundamentals of aviation. Melina considers herself a “forever student” due to her eagerness to always learn something new. She enjoys meeting new people and finding ways to help them have an uplifting experience. She is dedicated, friendly, and a team player.

In her free time, you can find her spending time with family, watching professional sporting events, or traveling to new places.

Administration

Janet Ygnatowiz
Janet Ygnatowiz

Book Keeper

Janet Ygnatowiz

Book Keeper

Coming soon!
Alyssa Verdugo
Alyssa Verdugo

Accounting Assistant

Alyssa Verdugo

Accounting Assistant

Coming soon!
Cindy Irvine
Cindy Irvine

Manager, Talent & Culture

Cindy Irvine

Manager, Talent & Culture

Cindy has had a close relationship with Desert Jet for the past five years and is excited to come on board as the Talent and Culture Specialist. She brings a positive, energetic mindset to Desert Jet and vast experience in building a strong team culture. Cindy’s management and team-building experience began at 19 years old as a manager of a retail store. She studied business management at the University of Utah, where she taught management seminars to various departments. She later spent time in Washington, D.C., where she had the opportunity to be mentored by multiple CEOs and leadership consultants from Franklin Covey, The U.S. government, and Brigham Young University.

In addition to her leadership skills, Cindy is also a professional singer and musical director. She has performed on various stages in the U.S. and cast in a Broadway show!! Over the past 20 years, Cindy has been able to combine her love of team-building and musical theatre when assisting with casting for various shows. She continues to teach as a hobby and often mentors new teachers.

Cindy is no stranger to aviation. She grew up near Hill Air Force Base, attending air shows, watching the Thunderbirds fly overhead, and always keeping an eye on the sky. Aviation has a special place in her heart as her husband and grandfather are both pilots! Cindy has a genuine love for all people and can always find something to talk about.

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